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And, yes, I DO take it personally: The only reason we know about the Wikileaks Twitter subpoena is because it was ordered unsealed [UPDATE]
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Saturday, January 08, 2011

The only reason we know about the Wikileaks Twitter subpoena is because it was ordered unsealed [UPDATE]

which begs the question...


And the key question now is this: did other Internet and social network companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) receive similar Orders and then quietly comply? It's difficult to imagine why the DOJ would want information only from Twitter; if anything, given the limited information it has about users, Twitter would seem one of the least fruitful avenues to pursue. But if other companies did receive and quietly comply with these orders, it will be a long time before we know, if we ever do, given the prohibition in these orders on disclosing even its existence to anyone.

i think there's only one logical answer to glenn's question... since the twitter subpoena was issued on december 14 and ordered to be kept sealed (it "barred the company from notifying anyone, including the users, of the existence of the Order") and, only at twitter's request, was ordered unsealed on january 5, it seems entirely likely that those other companies have received the same order but have not chosen to request that their orders be unsealed... as glenn points out, "had Twitter not so requested, it would have been compelled to turn over this information without the knowledge of its users"...

also, given that the twitter subpoena includes "a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee [of Iceland's Parliament] and the NATO parliamentary assembly" (Birgitta Jónsdóttir) it appears that our government has gotten itself into some seriously deep shit on this matter to say nothing of dramatically escalating its war against transparency...

p.s. on reflection, i'm somewhat puzzled at why the government is even bothering with a subpoena when i'm reasonably positive that massive government "sniffer" programs routinely capture in real time any and all data transmissions of any and all services that utilize public networks... could it be that they only want to make the appearance of a legitimate legal effort...? then, otoh, "making an appearance" would suggest that secrecy wouldn't have been mandated for the order... is there something about accessing twitter data in particular that makes a subpoena necessary...?


from the guardian...
WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook reveal the contents of any US subpoenas they may have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter to secretly hand over details of accounts on the micro-blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange.

Amid strong evidence that a US grand jury has begun a wide-ranging trawl for details of what networks and accounts WikiLeaks used to communicate with Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables, some of those named in the subpoena said they would fight disclosure.


The specific clause of the Patriot act used to acquire the subpoena is one that the FBI has described as necessary for "obtaining such records [that] will make the process of identifying computer criminals and tracing their internet communications faster and easier".

The subpoena itself is an unusual one known as a 2703(d). Recently a federal appeals court ruled this kind of order was insufficient to order the disclosure of the contents of communication. Significantly, however, that ruling is binding in neither Virginia – where the Twitter subpoena was issued – nor San Francisco where Twitter is based.


Gonggrijp [Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp ... (is one of the) "producers" of the first significant leak from the US cables cache: a video of an Apache helicopter attack that killed civilians and journalists in Baghdad] praised Twitter for notifying him and others that the US had subpoenaed his details. "It appears that Twitter, as a matter of policy, does the right thing in wanting to inform their users when one of these comes in," Gonggrijp said. "Heaven knows how many places have received similar subpoenas and just quietly submitted all they had on me."

i'm glad they're trying to force this stuff out in the open...

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